1st Edition

Light - The Physics of the Photon

By Ole Keller Copyright 2014
    484 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    From the early wave-particle arguments to the mathematical theory of electromagnetism to Einstein’s work on the quantization of light, different descriptions of what constitutes light have existed for over 300 years. Light – The Physics of the Photon examines the photon phenomenon from several perspectives. It demonstrates the importance of studying the photon as a concept belonging to a global vacuum (matter-free space).

    Divided into eight parts, the book begins with exploring aspects of classical optics in a global vacuum on the basis of free-space Maxwell equations. It then describes light rays and geodesics and presents a brief account of the Maxwell theory in general relativity. After discussing the theory of photon wave mechanics, the author gives a field-quantized description of the electromagnetic field, emphasizing single-photon quantum optics in Minkowskian space. He next focuses on photon physics in the rim zone of matter, paying particular attention to photon emission processes. He also takes a closer look at the photon source domain and field propagators, which conveniently describe the photon field propagation in the vicinity of and far from the electronic source domain. The last two parts discuss the photon vacuum and light quanta in Minkowskian space as well as two-photon entanglement, which is associated with the biphoton in space-time.

    Classical Optics in Global Vacuum
    Heading for photon physics
    Fundamentals of free electromagnetic fields
    Optics in the Special Theory of Relativity

    Light Rays and Geodesics. Maxwell Theory in General Relativity
    The light-particle and wave pictures in classical physics
    Eikonal theory and Fermat’s principle
    Geodesics in General Relativity
    The space-time of General Relativity
    Electromagnetic theory in curved space-time

    Photon Wave Mechanics
    The elusive light particle
    Wave mechanics based on transverse vector potential
    Longitudinal and scalar photons. Gauge and near-field light quanta
    Massive photon field
    Photon energy wave function formalism

    Single-Photon Quantum Optics in Minkowskian Space
    The photon of the quantized electromagnetic field
    Polychromatic photons
    Single-photon wave packet correlations
    Interference phenomena with single-photon states
    Free-field operators: Time evolution and commutation relations

    Photon Embryo States
    Attached photons in rim zones
    Evanescent photon fields
    Photon tunneling
    Near-field photon emission in 3D

    Photon Source Domain and Propagators
    Super-confined T-photon sources
    Transverse current density in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics
    Spin-1/2 current density in relativistic quantum mechanics
    Massless photon propagators

    Photon Vacuum and Quanta in Minkowskian Space
    Photons and observers
    The inertial class of observers: Photon vacuum and quanta
    The non-inertial class of observers: The nebulous particle concept
    Photon mass and hidden gauge invariance

    Two-Photon Entanglement in Space-Time
    The quantal photon gas
    Quantum measurements
    Two-photon wave mechanics and correlation matrices
    Spontaneous one- and two-photon emissions




    Ole Keller is a professor of physics and nanotechnology at Aalborg University in Denmark.

    "Everything you wanted to know about the modern photon by way of mathematical formalisms is available in [this book] … a delightful book for theoretically inclined advanced students and scientists specializing in optical science."
    American Journal of Physics, March 2015

    "The material is presented in a clear structure and with full mathematical rigour."
    Contemporary Physics, 2014

    "This important book will help readers accomplish the arduous task of understanding the photon, and provides deeper knowledge of the nature of light."
    —Barry R. Masters, Optics & Photonics News, 2014